Two of the most rewarding activities I have been involved in during my time in Kyoto, are the events organized by the Hailstone Haiku Circle, and the conservation activities of People Together for Mt. Ogura (PTO). Stephen Gill is a primary organizer of both organizations, and so some of their activites tend to merge. So it was that on October 26th Mewby and I took part in a joint Hailstone/PTO hike along the Rice Buyers’ Way between Mizuo and Saga, in Ukyo-ku, Kyoto.
The Komekai no Michi 米買の道 was the route taken by citizens of Heian-kyo and their horses and oxen when they went off to buy cheaper, more delicious rice from Mizuo, Koshihata and the province of Tamba beyond. The journey involved climbing at least two passes (there is a third on the way to Koshihata/Kameoka). With an early start and a brisk pace, the buyer’s mission could possibly have been accomplished in a single strenuous day… Few people pass this way nowadays, but the trail is still pretty good…
However, unlike the rice buyers, we would walk in only one direction and not there and back again. Meeting up at Hozukyo station at 9am, we boarded a mini-bus for Mizuo. From here we would hike back to Kyoto. Here are some pictures from our walk.
to what tune
does the spider spin
this disc that snares the light?
a fungal seat –
each in turn, we try to prove
we are monkeys
And Okiharu Maeda’s translation:
for the ghost of the tree,
that pointed the way,
now stands a simple sign
water strider –
back and forth he stakes a claim:
this rock is mine
Having returned to Saga, those that still had energy visited a Balinese eatery and there over our drinks and just desserts, we shared our haiku. You can read some haiku from the other walkers here: Of Michio, Toshi and the Village of Mizuo
Many thanks to Stephen Gill for organizing a very enjoyable day.
If you would like to join in the activities of the Hailstone Haiku Circle or PTO then please visit the websites below.
Beautiful images and beautiful haiku — I like your presentation that allows us to see and understand the inspiration for each haiku. Looks like many parts of the path are quite challenging nowadays; I imagine there was more maintenance and clearing when the path was used regularly?
Michael Lambe says
Yes, a lot of these old routes have fallen into disrepair, Kavey. But this one wasn’t so bad. Thank you for your kind words on the post!